Friday, December 21, 2007

Hospitalists...hmmm


…HA hopes you have no idea what a hospitalist is. That would mean you had not been hospitalized within the last few years and found out that your regular doctor will not take care of you or maybe even learn you are there.

…Uh-oh, HA is being mean to doctors again. Well, she has her reasons. She has run into hospitalists who barely speak English, want to prescribe things for her without even coming into the room, and who are not as accessible and hip to hospital routines as they are billed to be.

…This specialty is the fastest growing—and a recent study showed that hospitalists can reduce the average hospital stay 12% (let’s see, why do insurance companies love them again? And often insist on their use?).

…Tufts looked into this and found that a hospitalist managing your care can take half a day off the average stay.

…Despite their rep for hospital savvy, multitasking, and management skills, hospitalists in this study were shown not to save much money—it was speculated this was because they had to redo tests you might have had done at your doctor’s office (and of which they would know nothing).

…You as the patient are being handed, often abruptly, to a stranger, when you are sickest, then back to your doctor when you are discharged. What information has been sent back with you about your hospital stay? Sometimes only what you can convey yourself.

…HA remembers her first hospitalist encounter. She was a pleasant young woman from Eastern Europe, good English, but HA had no idea who she was. HA kept asking for her doctor—and this woman had never heard of him. Finally HA called her doctor’s office—and the nurse said, “Your doctor does not come anymore. They will take care of you.”

…HA also remembers some hospitalist saying she needed blood plasma, which can be a little scary because of the diseases it can transmit, even though it is screened. The man had never even seen or talked to HA!

…She demanded he talk to her about it. Oh, he had left, but eventually his partner came in standing on one foot and the other, dying to leave.

…HA said, “I am not numbers in a chart or some case in the New Engliand Journal of Medicine! I am a person!”

…When she got out of the hospital, her regular doctor had no clue about any of this. When HA complained about being “abandoned,” he sent her a registered letter saying she was no longer his patient.

...She found a primary physician who says he still rounds in the hospital.

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